When Leading Beyond the Ego crossed my desk, I couldn’t wait to see the author’s take on the subject. The lead author, John Knights, is the Chairman of LeaderShape Global and the book is the result of twenty years of research and experience supporting leaders in their personal and professional development. It builds on the importance of emotional intelligence as a foundation to demonstrate how the best leaders in the 21stcentury will lead beyond their ego and bring their values and purpose to full consciousness.
I recently spoke with John about his leadership researching and findings.
Become a Transpersonal Leader
For those who haven’t read your new book, tell us what is “Transpersonal Leadership”?
Transpersonal Leadership is an ongoing journey that embraces life-long development to become increasingly emotionally and spiritually intelligent. The transpersonal leader is robust and radical yet caring, authentic and ethical, seeking sustainable and continued performance enhancement for the organization they are involved in leading. Further a transpersonal leader can be at any level in an organization. And finally, they operate beyond their ego by bringing their values and decision-making processes to full-consciousness.
What is the value of neuroscience and how does it relate to leadership?
As we are seeing in the 21st century, neuroscience research helps us to understand how our brain works and how we can learn to rewire our own brains to behave differently. This is particularly important for leaders as, every time we allow our emotions to hijack us or to cause our true values to be ignored, we make mistakes which are amplified because these can impact many other people. We are born with brains that are fundamentally the same as in the stone-age, designed to focus on survival. Our brains are then rewired through our lives depending on our circumstances and experiences, basically serendipitously. As leaders we can learn to rewire our brains, not to change our personality but to manage it more effectively. We can become more aware, learn to manage our emotions more effectively, become more fully-conscious of our values, and learn to improve our judgement and decision-making – all by understanding how our brain works and proactively working on our behaviors through practice.
Copyright LeaderShapeGlobal. Used by Permission.
“Neuroscience provides ways to raise our emotional awareness and bring our values to full consciousness.” -John Knights
Your book title starts with the word authentic. That’s not usually a descriptor of negotiating styles. I’d love to know more about your approach and this uniqueness.
My teachings, based on over 30 years of day-in and day-out professional business negotiating, are mainly focused on the personal and deep internal work you need to do to become a great negotiator: Clarity, Detachment and Equilibrium (or CDE). A lot of negotiating training is on the level of techniques, tactics and counter-tactics. Some of those are very manipulative, lack integrity, and are ultimately ineffective – so they should never be used. Some are okay, but they are not at the core of true negotiating success. At best, they are good to know as additional tools beyond the deeper and more important work of authentic negotiating. Without Clarity, Detachment and Equilibrium, tactics and counter-tactics will be of marginal impact at best.
Authentic negotiators get total clarity on what will work and won’t work for them on every significant term and what their true bottom line is – from a place of clarity, not ego. They then stay detached from the outcome. They have no hesitation to walk away from a negotiation – not from a place of anger or ego but, instead, from a place of clarity with no upset, judgement or hard feelings. Finally, they maintain their equilibrium throughout the negotiating process and don’t let their emotions throw them off so that they are able to stay present to and maintain their clarity and detachment. Although, of course, leverage matters, in over 30 years of professional negotiating, I found that the most impactful common controllable elements are those three things – not the negotiating tactics and counter-tactics that many of us have been taught.
I’ve actually created a quiz where people can learn if they are an authentic negotiator, which can be found at CoreyKupfer.com.
“Authentic negotiators determine their true bottom line from a place of clarity, not ego.” –Corey Kupfer
What are some of the most common errors people make negotiating?
The top six reasons negotiations fail are:
Lack of preparation – external preparation and, the often overlooked, internal preparation which requires doing the deep inner work to get clear on your objectives and determine your true bottom line on every material deal point.
Ego – including avoiding the pitfalls of pride, wanting to be liked, wanting to win and talking too much.
Fear – including fear of losing, failure, success, the unknown and looking bad or letting someone down.
Rigidity – including pre-conceived notions and the danger of inflexibility.
Getting emotional/losing objectivity – which can kill a deal because you fall in love with a bad deal or it can push you in the wrong direction.
Lack of integrity – with others and, less talked about but as important, with yourself.
Here are some additional specific reasons that fall under the various larger categories above:
Talking too much which is most often triggered by either ego or fear.
Thinking of negotiation as a game.
Being focused on winning instead of achieving objectives.
Letting emotions get in the way of your clarity, detachment or equilibrium.
Not getting connected to a powerful context.
Not knowing your purpose for the negotiation.
Not determining the measurable results you want to achieve.
Not holding high expectations.
Having unreasonable expectations.
Not understanding the natural negotiating rhythm and moving either too fast or slow.
Not being aware and prepared for cultural differences.
“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” – Sir David Frost
Do skilled negotiators often exploit these errors? If they know the issue is “getting emotional/losing objectivity” do they deliberately work to have one side off balance in this way?
Absolutely! Manipulative negotiators are going to look to take advantage of every weakness they see in you and use it to their advantage. They will leverage that emotional imbalance the most they can even though it would be shortsighted to do so, especially in one of the many negotiations that results in an ongoing relationship. Authentic negotiators will use these errors to their benefit as well, though. There is a way to do that which is authentic and not manipulative. It is the difference between paying attention to the information and leveraging opportunities that emotion reveals to help attain your objectives vs. actively manipulating people’s emotions. For example, if somebody is the type of person who emotionally needs to feel like they have won a negotiation, I will design my negotiating strategy with that in mind. As long as I achieve my objectives, I am happy to have them feel like they have won. The difference in the authentic approach is that my focus is achieving my objectives, not using their need to win to take advantage of them and manipulate that need to get as much as I can at the expense of the ongoing relationship or getting a reputation as a negotiator who takes advantage of others.